Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Making of F, Day Two

I've been busy. This is what I have so far. (Part One is here.) I will promise step-by-step photos of how I got to this point a bit later, but I have to go brush the snow off my car (sigh).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Must. Clean. Studio.

The sewing studio has reached critical mess. I had to clean it up. This photo was taken about halfway through. It's not perfect, but it's better.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Change of Pace

Sometimes it's nice to make something really simple, where you don't have to do much thinking. I am making a blue Exquisite quilt for a dear friend, who was visiting this past weekend. I brought her to Quilted Threads, where she roamed the store pulling bolts of blue and WOW fabrics for her quilt. She was like a kid in a candy store. We had great fun.

I need 378 4-1/2" white squares. I thought it would be fun to see how big the stack would be. I've another yard of WOW to cut, then I'll measure the stack!

1. The stack is 8" tall
2. The quilt will be about 72" x 84" (183 x 213 cm)
3. Yes, Megan, she is a very dear friend.
4. She paid for all the fabric, and will pay for the quilting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nine x Nine Detail

Dolly commented yesterday that three letters in the same word were not the same size. That's not always the way I wanted it to be. The 'a' and the 'e' in chocolate are both too small. I made a mistake in each of them. I accidentally trimmed some elements (the crossbar in the 'A' and the top of the 'E') too thin.

Those two letters are fairly complex, and I had already made the 'A' once before, so I decided to just live with it. They are centered in the word more or less horizontally, because if I set them down on the baseline the word would have slanted downward and looked stupid.

HOWEVER... Notice the angle of the top loop of the 'a', the crossbar of the 't' and the top of the 'e' are all at the same angle? That was NOT accidental. That was deliberate, and serves to connect the letters visually.
PLEASE READ THIS: Ida, thank you for sticking up for me, but there is no need. Dolly left a lovely comment yesterday. My letters do have oddities, and her comment was in the vein of, "they aren't perfect, but they're perfect." I was pretty stoked!

I pay a lot of attention to how the letters look, and as regular readers know, I am a full believer in sharing my process. If there had been a goof, or mistake, my readers would have let me know long ago. If it's in the finished flimsy, it's there on purpose, and believe me, I KNOW about it.

This quilt was started way back in September with TURQUOISE, which I made to idle away a free afternoon. Back then I didn't know I had a quilt in the making. The whole quilt is actually a mini lesson in the possibilities of free pieced letter making. TURQUOISE, to me, is the way most beginners piece letters. A bit wonky, a bit uneven, but still very charming. The uneven letters are there quite deliberately.

AUBERGINE looks the way a quilter might make her second word, letters more even, straighter, more organized, more planned.

VERMILION is an example of a word that gets a little more inventive. Fabrics are "fussy cut".

The words get more creative after that, and also got somewhat trickier to sew. Regular readers know I made CHOCOLATE three times before I got the look I wanted.

In blogging, I open up my process for all to see. I value all comments, even dissenters. I'm not your average duck. I totally follow my own path, and it isn't traditional. I don't view the funky letters, the odd spacing, the irregularities as mistakes. I am using "artistic license". Quite liberally.

And enjoying every minute of it. Thank you all for your heartfelt support, and your thoughts!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nine x Nine

After a day of marathon handsewing, Nine x Nine is finished. I'd take it outside to photograph, but it's too windy. I am very happy with it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nine x Nine

My quilt "Nine x Nine" is back from Chris, who did the longarm quilting.
Now I am adding the binding and the hanging sleeve.
As you can see, Millie is helping.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Making of F, Day One

I decided to make the letter F in this nice vibrant PINK! What else would be FUN? The white strip is 8" wide by about 18" long or so, the pink, about six inches wide. I'll cut it down and use it for other things.
I sewed the two pieces together on the long edge, then trimmed the pink piece down to about 1-1/2 inches.I lined up the wider pink edge to where I thought it should go, then sewed it in place.
I trimmed that piece down, and sewed a piece of white to the end of a piece of pink, then lined that up and sewed in in place.
That corner needs to be softened, so I sewed a strip across the bottom.
Here I'm checking the angles against my drawing.
Laying some white strips along the outer edge helps me figure out what the bottom curve should be.
I use the pins to mark the lines, and then start sewing white fabrics to shape the outer edge.
Continuing to shape the lower edge...
One piece at a time... it's coming along nicely.
I've set out some fabrics to see where the top and middle crossbars should go, and sliced it across.
Here, I've sewn a strip of white to the end of a long piece of pink for the crossbar.
I sewed it in place, but looking at it now, I think it's too narrow. This piece needs to be removed and replaced with a wider strip....

More later.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Evolution of Fun!

When I made the letters for Helen's Rules quilt almost a year ago, each letter was made out of one fabric. I decided to make the word FUN from several different fabrics. I had planned to sew up the word like this:I have a cat, Millie. The letters were laid out on the floor, in the path you take to go from the sewing room to the hallway. (You can see where this is going.) I was trying to work out the letter spacing, when Millie came tearing into the room, knocking the letters helter-skelter. I looked at what she had done and laughed. "Thank you Millie," I told her. "Good girl." I sewed up the word FUN with the letters jumping around at different angles.

For Tonya's Rules, I did the same thing, letters made out of several fabrics, bouncing around. Tonya's has four exclamation marks, and each of her four cats is represented.
For Julie's quilt, No Rules for Julie, I had the idea of adding extra "FUN's" around the big FUN, but having them made out of fabrics that would almost blend into the background. Julie calls them "shadow funs." Their visibility depends on the light. In some lights, you can see them all, in softer light, some disappear almost completely. That was my plan. You might miss the fun. (get it? miss the fun?)
For Julie's quilt, I made the "shadow" FUNs first, and then made the real FUN to fill in the space I had left. (yes, dear son, I -know- that you'd like to see the "F" and "U" closer together, but dammit, it's harder than it looks.)
So now I am making two more Rules quilts, and I want the FUN to be DIFFERENT. So I am thinking, how do I do that?

Dunno about you, but I get my sketchbook out and start drawing. I don't draw block letters, that doesn't work for me. I -write-. And when I wrote this one.. this cursive "F" (You know which one I mean, the one with the box almost drawn around it)... I knew I was on to something.
Now, by the way, this is a Moleskin sketchbook. There are five squares to one inch (2.54 cm). So we're not talking about gigantically huge letters here. I drew out a larger box, twice as big as the original and then drew out the letter F until I got a nice shape I liked, then I cleaned up the lines with my eraser. In the final stitched version, each square of graph paper will equal one inch, so this F, should (in theory) be about seven inches tall and about ten inches wide.
My friend Julie tells people I work out my letters on graph paper ahead of time. Well, yeah, I guess, but that's only so I can see the size relationships before I sew them together. (Because I'm a cheap New Englander and I hate wasting stuff.)

I do not slavishly follow my graph paper drawings. I sew the letters completely by eye. I wing it, I guess, I experiment, I rip stuff apart, I make stuff two and three times, (yes, I know this statement contradicts my earlier one, but I'm an artist, and artists tolerate ambiguity) but I do NOT "enlarge based on the grid."

Notice you don't see anything on this drawing indicating how I should sew it together. THAT, I never do. I'll just take this drawing into the sewing room, and start sewing.

You'll see the results, I promise. Now it's time for me to sew...

(you can click each of the photos, and most of them can be clicked again to enlarge.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Never Say Never

This is my quilt, Laughing Out Loud, when I finished it in the summer of 2009.And this was my quilt last Saturday, as I cut out the ties, and unstitched the binding.
Here is the backing, as was ironing it on Sunday.
I'm going to send it out to Chris to be quilted. Why?

Why did I suddenly decide to take apart this quilt and have it be quilted? Was it because of Letters From Home? Was is because of the Exquisite? Was it because of No Rules for Julie? Was it because of The Quick Brown Fox?

No, no, no and no.

It was because of this one, Obsolescence. I told Julie I'd use it as a throw in my living room, for winter evenings when I got a bit chilly while watching TV, but in reality, it's spent every night on my bed.

Every night I sleep under it, and every night I touch it. Finally last week, when I was changing the sheets I decided I wanted Laughing Out Loud to be a "real" quilt. I wanted it to be quilted. So I took it off the bed, and started taking it apart.

Mea Culpa.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!
The roses are from my wonderful son. The painting is one of my favorite paintings inthe Currier's permanent collection (although right now it is on exhibit somewhere in the UK.)My sweet son, with the flowers he bought for his special lady friends.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Special Friends!

Regular readers know about my quilting friends Julie (of Me & My Quilts ~ Exploring the Possibilities)

and Chris (who quilts my quilts, her blog is Quilting4U)
They live in Tennessee, about 1250 miles away from me. They are the "Fairy Godmothers" of my alphabet sampler quilt, Letters From Home.

They've done so much for me, I wanted to send them each a special gift. When I saw the "Just Bobbin Along" necklace from Pieceful Designs, I knew I had found it! I ordered one for Chris, and one for Julie. Once they arrived, I had to figure out how to present them in a way that would be special, fun and memorable

In the serendipitous way things happen, an idea came to me while I was thinking about something else. I knew that Chris and Julie were planning to meet at their lqs to exchange quilts. Chris had finished quilting my quilt Nine x Nine, and Julie wanted to give her the Hidden Potential and Magic Happens flimsies.

So I packed each gift with a note, and then sent the box containing Chris's gift to Julie, and the box with Julie's quilt to Chris. I emailed each of them and wrote I had a special gift for the other one, and would they be willing to deliver it for me when they met next, but not to say anything... that it was a surprise!

The boxes shipped out on Tuesday, and I've been waiting on pins and needles ever since. Both Chris and Julie emailed me during the week to say they had received the boxes, and would deliver them to the other on Saturday.

Neither one knew about the other's package until the two boxes landed side by side!!To see what happens next, you have to visit Julie's blog!

All I can tell you is that what I thought would happen, did happen!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fun Friday

I bought a new digital camera, and it arrived yesterday. It's a Canon PowerShot. Here I tested it by holding it at arm's length and aiming in the general direction of my face. All the buttons are in different places from my "old" camera. This is going to take some getting used to!

Thinking Thursday

I've been so tired this week that I haven't done much sewing. Last night I made this red and white asterisk for the White Rules Quilt.I'm not really concerned with the layout yet, but I did want to see what it might look like with the other elements. If I used the curved layout, I'd probably place asterisks on either side.
and if I went with those two words arranged in a straight line, I like the asterisk in the middle.
Especially because in Structural Query Language (SQL for non-geeks), the * means ALL. Another inside joke.

Anyway, I'm thinking.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Playing with ALL THE

I love the fabric, I am tinkering with the layout. Here are the letters on the white background.Here are the letters on the black background.
I think I prefer the ALL in all lower case letters. I haven't sewn these into word blocks yet, so the layout isn't final.

Next up, sewing some extras... like butterflies, birds, flowers, hearts... You all know how I hate empty space.

Monday, February 7, 2011

When Misfits Aren't

Being a cheap New Englander, I never throw my misfit blocks away. Instead I put them in a plastic bin and keep the bin on the top shelf of a bookcase I generally can't reach.

I had misfit letters from my colors quilt, Nine x Nine.
I had misfit letters and blocks from the Rules quilts I made for Tonya, Helen, and Julie. I had misfit letters from The Quick Brown Fox.I had misfit letters from Daft Zebras, I made last summer:I had houses left over from Devon's quilt.I had leftover trees from Doll Quilt Swap 8, that I made in January 2010.
I had bits of my rows of seminole "dots" I used in my sampler quilt, "Letters From Home" made in 2009.I had blocks left over from Violette's quilt, which I made in 2008:wonky flowers
my first wonky house
and some wonky trees.

Why do I mention this? Because earlier this year, my friend Julie asked me to send them to her so she could make a flimsy.

In the lovely way a creative project changes as you work on it (if you're smart enough to let it), the flimsy developed into something more than the sum of its parts, and then morphed into not one, but two quilts.

My blocks + Julie's design sense = [two] Collaborative quilts! How cool is that? (And it's not over! Our friend Chris will add another creative element when she quilts them.)

What Julie really made is Magic. You simply must go to her blog and see Monday's post to check it out. I am positively thrilled!